The Best Shade Trees for Zone 9
Hardiness Zone 9 covers the lower 2/3 of Texas as well as the southern edges of Louisiana and Mississippi. Most of the states of Florida and Hawaii are included in this zone. These areas are known for dry, humid summers and temperate winter months. Residents of these areas should consider planting shade trees in their yards to help shield them from the heat and reduce their energy costs.
Because the Hybrid Poplar is a fast-growing tree, it often is used as a windbreak or is grown for firewood. This species can grow from 5 to 8 feet in a year. A mature Hybrid Poplar tree will be 40 to 50 feet tall with a spread of about 30 feet. Its branches begin very low on the trunk and are dense and bushy from the bottom to the top. The Hybrid Poplar is a deciduous tree that grows best in full sun with acidic or alkaline soil.
The Red Maple tree is aptly named because it has red attributes no matter what season. In the spring it produces red flowers that quickly turn into red leaves. These leaves intensify in color during autumn. After shedding the leaves, the Red Maple sports red-tipped buds throughout winter. It has the longest north-to-south range of any eastern tree species. It is a very large tree, reaching 40 to 60 feet at mature height. The Red Maple limbs may stretch as far as 40 feet. It grows well in wet soils and full sunlight and is the state tree of Rhode Island.
The Tulip Tree is commonly referred to as Yellow Poplar, appropriately named because its leaves resemble a tulip flower. The leaves are a deep green during the summer and turn to bright yellow in the fall. The trunk of the Tulip Tree is straight and solid. The branches may spread up to 40 feet and are high on the trunk. It grows well in loamy or sandy soils. This fast-growing tree could reach up to 90 feet in height. Greenish-yellow flowers appear on the Tulip Tree in the spring, making this a popular attraction for hummingbirds. It often is logged for its hard wood.
This evergreen tree grows to be 60 to 70 feet tall. The branches of the Leyland Cypress spread up to 25 feet. Leyland Cypress is characterized by flat, thin needles that are green when the tree is young. As the tree matures, the needles turn a bluish-green color. The tree has a wide base at the bottom that narrows toward the top of the evergreen. It is an excellent cover for small wildlife and birds, especially during the winter months. It is tolerant of light drought and grows best in full sun.